When we experience trauma, our safety and boundaries are violated. This has a domino effect on our lives.
Throughout our website, you will find a lot of information on negative behavior patterns, but this also includes negative response patterns. One of those often impacted by trauma is sex and intimacy.
Trauma often keeps us in a state of fight or flight, making it difficult to experience healthy relationships – with ourselves and with others. It is difficult to maintain a healthy relationship, especially sexual and intimate relationships that rely on safety and vulnerability, when we are in a constant state of survival, uncertainty, escape, panic, etc.
Common misconceptions are that sex behavior is more impacted when there has been sexual trauma. While certainly correlated, it is not the only type of trauma that can trigger sex and intimacy issues.
All types of trauma affect our safety.
Being intimate, sexual, and loving with ourselves and others relies on healthy levels of feeling safe.
It only makes sense that our ability to do so is threatened when we unresolved trauma – of any kind.
It is important to understand what sex and intimacy are so we can better explain how at The Bridge to Recovery, we help individuals heal and overcome sex and intimacy struggles.
capacity for sexual feelings
These feelings can include:
And much more.
close familiarity or friendship; closeness
Types of intimacy can include (but certainly not limited to):
Because sex carries with it a lot of shame in our society, when we experience sexual trauma or our trauma creates sex and intimacy struggles, we carry an overwhelming amount of shame.
Whereas anxiety, depression, and some other mental health issues are gaining momentum in ridding societal stigma, sex is certainly not. It is the one that is left in the shadows of shame, unrelenting, full of embarrassing feelings and closeted behavior.
At The Bridge to Recovery, we help our clients heal from their unresolved trauma, understand and let go of their shame, and their unwanted and unhealthy behaviors so that they may move forward to enjoy happy and healthy sexual and intimate relationships.
Some of the sex and intimacy issues our clients identify as causing problems in their lives:
This list is certainly not comprehensive, but is some of the most common ones self-reported to us. These are all symptoms of trauma, which is the common denominator amongst all of our clients – the pain they carry from their unresolved trauma.
In order to heal the behavior and emotional response system, we must heal the trauma. You can visit our page on healing trauma here for more in depth information.
However, in short, we need the opportunity to
This is what we do at The Bridge to Recovery, and by doing so, we are able to further address the unhealthy and unhelpful behavior patterns we have used to survive.
Clients struggling with sex and intimacy issues begin to reclaim their sexual identity by:
When safety is taken from us because of our trauma, it must be reestablished before we can regain our sexual self. Once safety is reestablished we can begin to move from survival mode to healthy living.
When we experience trauma, our boundaries are violated, impacting our sense of self. Boundaries are critical in the establishment of healthy sexual and intimate relationships. Learning how to regain those boundaries is critical for healing.
Trauma shakes us to our very core and causes us to question everything we think or know about ourselves. This impacts our relationship with self – which prevents us from feeling vulnerable with others. Building back our sense of self is especially important and happens by:
Developed by Dr. Patrick Carnes, renowned sex educator and therapist, clinicians holding this credentialing specialize in working with clients with sexual compulsivity issues.
We believe so highly in the importance of this specific area of need and the excellence this training program provides that we have provided the opportunity for multiple clinicians at The Bridge to Recovery to obtain this credentialing over the past few years.
Currently, Clinical Director Briana Sefcik is a licensed CCAT Therapist and works with clients at The Bridge to Recovery who would benefit from this work.
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The Bridge to Recovery hires Butch Glover as the new Executive Director
“ Honestly the Bridge taught me something I already knew but had to remember. I am so damn special, valid, and important. Everyone in my life saw it, but me. The Bridge just showed me how to look in the mirror to see for myself. ”
- Jewel, Alumnus